Barred Spiral

Okay, I’ve talked a bit about galactic structure before. Our galaxy is a ‘barred spiral’, but trying to describe what that would actually look like is rather difficult.

So here’s a picture:

This is UGC 12158, courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope and the ESA. We’re veiwing it almost face-on, hence you can clearly see the barred bulge, what looks like a 5-Kpc Ring analogue and also the spiral arms. (Remember – old stars in the bulge, hence the oranger colour, younger stars and active star formation in the arms, hence the bluer colours.)

In terms of morphology, this object has some similarities to our galaxy. It is rather bigger, however – an estimated 140,000 light years across, against ~100,000 for ours. (It should be noted that our galaxy is actually unusually large, as they go.) This monster is located something like 400 million light years out.

Also, one more thing. See those little ovoidal swirly things in the background? Look closer and you see that they’re other spiral galaxies, except ones that are even further away.

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